TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The community came together at RPI on Friday to remember an important university alum.
Major General Harold Greene was killed in August 2014 in Afghanistan. He was the highest ranked U.S. officer to be killed in combat since Vietnam.
RPI’s Office of Alumni Relations unveiled a plaque dedicated to the Major General’s legacy. He graduated from the school in 1980. Organizers of the event invited Greene’s family and his friends from his time at RPI and Guilderland High School.
“He was my hero, and that’s all I really can say about it,” his younger brother Jonathan Greene said.
Major General Greene was the oldest of three boys. Jonathan Greene said the Major General was his role model.
“He went to RPI a year early; I went to RPI a year early,” he described.
Family said the Major General was more than an inspiration. He also motivated others.
“As a kid, I wouldn’t call him the neighborhood leader,” his father Harold Greene said. “The neighborhood sort of gathered around him.”
Harold Greene said the Major General picked up those qualities from his mother.
“I have to give his mother credit for a lot more than I would take,” he said.
The Major General was killed when a gunman dressed as an Afghan soldier opened fire on U.S. troops. Major General Greene was checking in on an education center when he was shot.
“That means that they are really out there working with their soldiers,” Major General Donald Rutherford said. “Which is what Harry did. Harry was out there with the soldiers; out there with them and among them. He was a soldier.”
Major General Rutherford knew Greene when the two were at RPI.
“He was a scholar, was a soldier,” he said. “He was a father. He was a friend. He was a real patriot.”
Major General Rutherford said Greene’s ideas and skills bettered the Army and the country.
“His effects and his work will be around for years to come,” he said.
His brother said his legacy was shaped during his time at RPI.
“The education he got at RPI really was the foundation that enabled his military career,” John Greene said.
And lasting along with his military legacy will be memories of the good-hearted man he became.
“When the tragedy happened and I sat down and I realized that my hero was gone, and yet, he will always be with us because we have so many great memories of him,” Jonathan Greene said.
The final place for Major General Greene’s plaque to be displayed has not been finalized, but his family and RPI said they will find the best place on campus to honor the fallen hero.